Sometimes as a mother, we feel intense guilt when it comes to our children.
I tend to be in tune with my kids’ needs usually and with five kids that is not an easy thing to do. I am always looking for subtle signs that they may need help with something, whether that be physically or in other areas of their little lives. I am the first to notice symptoms when they are coming down with a cold or when something just isn’t quite right. However, with my seven-year-old, Kennedi, I missed the mark.
Kennedi is my second-grade diva. She has confidence like no other, she is witty, and she is smart. I truly believe her confidence has masked the fact that she’s been having trouble seeing. I have never once heard her say anything, like “that’s blurry,” or “I can’t see.” She has carried on as if everything is A-OK and as if she has 20/20 vision.
Here are a few vital signs that Kennedi may have needed glasses, (of which I didn’t pick up on and feel totally guilty):
- Headaches. I noticed that Kenni complained of an occasional headache. I have five kids, and I swear all of them cry about some type of “ailment,” that always turns out to be nothing. Kenni would say she had a headache and then within a few minutes, she never mentioned it again. So, I ignored it.
- She tried on a pair of prescription glasses, just playing around, and said everything was crystal clear. This should have been another clear sign to me. She once wore my mom’s reading glasses while playing “school” for a significant amount of time and was unbothered. My mom told me that she thought it was strange and once again I brushed it off.
- Wandering eye. Not too long ago, I noticed when Kennedi was tired, just waking up or zoning-out, her right eye would wander off away from the center, go off to the right and then return to normal. I thought it was strange, but maybe that was just how her eyes were. My oldest daughter noticed as well, and a couple of weeks ago she asked me if I had seen. I said yes, and we both laughed because it was strange… and then it struck me.
- Reading and letter confusion. Kennedi has had a little bit of trouble confusing letters and difficulty copying words. I can almost bet it has to do with her having a hard time seeing.
- Deep blinking and staring closely at papers. Kennedi didn’t do this often, but I noticed she would do it a lot when reading or when she was tired. She never complained; therefore, I thought this was her “normal.”
I decided to take her to the Bellevue Optometry Clinic to have her eyes checked, (just to see why her right eye wanders) and I was shocked. The doctor did about 45 minutes of testing on her vision, and there were many tests where my poor daughter literally could not see.
My poor kid is pretty much blind, and shame on me for not realizing it sooner. As I watched her struggle through specific vision tests, I felt awful. How come I didn’t notice? Why did I let all the little signs go? It turns out Kennedi is far-sided, and things that are six feet and closer are hard to see. The doctor had me look through a lens that mimics what she sees when she looks at objects up close. I was stunned. The letters were blurry and hard to make out. I know kids naturally adjust and get used to having poor vision, but my heart broke for her. I feel total mom-guilt.
But, you know what? Just as I’m feeling guilty, I feel grateful that I took her in to get her eyes checked. I was in tune with her needs. It just took a little longer to get going. I am so happy I caught her need for glasses before she started third grade, which has a huge jump as far as reading and writing content. No, I did not catch it years ago, but I caught it at the perfect time.
We picked up Kennedi’s glasses this week, and let me tell you, my daughter has excellent taste! The glasses she picked fit her personality to a “t.” It is almost like she was meant to have glasses all along. I am so thrilled for her to start her new journey in life with everything being crystal clear!
For those who think their kids may need glasses, look for the signs and make sure they have their vision checked at their next check up! A good rule of thumb is if an immediate family member already wears glasses, having a professional eye exam done whether the exhibit signs or not is key!